Friday, August 11, 2006

Uncle Sam wants you!

In case you haven't been paying attention, god forbid, good old Joe Lieberman, one of the few Democratic senators who still supports the war in Iraq, lost Connecticut's Democratic primary to a rich guy named Ned Lamont whose platform was "I'm not Joe Lieberman" which roughly translates to "I'm not a lackey for the Bush Administration." and "I hate the war."

Whitehouse spokesperson Tony Snow had an interesting take on this development. He strongly suggested that Ned Lamont and his supporters did not take the war on terror seriously.

So ... pulling out of Iraq is equivalent to not taking the war on terror seriously?

Is this brand of bullshit still effective?

We now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We also know that Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al Quaida. None of the terrorists caught since 9/11 have been Iraqi. Many of the counter-insurgents in Iraq are from other Arab countries.

What on God's green earth does the war in Iraq or any of our other efforts in the Middle East have to do with the war on terror???

I'll tell you:

* We're detaining, torturing, humiliating, raping, and killing innocent people in Iraq.

(OK. You're right! We're also detaining, torturing, humiliating, and killing the bad guys. But let us not forget about the innocents. Nobody else is)

* We're funding Israel's efforts in Lebanon and the resultant "collateral damage." That's right folks! Conservatives estimate that one-fifth of the US budget for foreign aid goes to Israel. That might be news to you but it is not to other nations in the Middle East.

* We claim to be importing democracy but we disavow it if we don't like the election results, as in the Palestinian territories.

OK. I get it now. We're acting like total shitheads in that part of the world because we want MORE terrorists.

Tony Snow, stop talking to us as if we are dumbasses. Save that for your boss.



Anonymous Chadwick said...

There you go listening to the liberal media again.

Ps. If I recall my Bible Church days, the end of the world basically gets started in Isreal according to the rantings of the mentally ill prisoner John the Revelator. I think he may have been on to something after all.

8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, do you really think that if the war ended, then terrorism would stop or be redirected at someone else? I'm not using that as an excuse to keep fighting, but I get the feeling that some people honestly believe that to be the case. I'm willing to listen to arguments that have us pulling out and then redeploying those troops in more effective uses against terrorism. But I don't think that's what a lot of people want. They believe the moment we get our troops out, the big bull's-eye on the US's back will disappear. Unfortunately, that bull's-eye isn't going anywhere as long as there is 1 radical Muslim out there. As long as we don't rail out at Zionists, let our women wear short skirts, keep exporting MTV, or whatever, we'll always be the Great Satan who must be destroyed.

Also, it's not like the foreign insurgents just materialized out of thin air. They probably weren't at home thinking, "Geez, I'd sure like to stay at home and work on my garden, but this damn Iraq war is forcing me to have to go fight." If they weren't in Iraq fighting Americans, they're be elsewhere causing trouble. I'd rather have them fight the US military than have them fomenting plots elsewhere.


9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, this is coming from someone who works for an airline and thus has every incentive to make sure terrorism never succeeds as I still enjoy having a job. Oh, and Mandy and I are about to get on a plane to London in a couple of days.


9:23 AM

Blogger zen imbecile said...

People who think that terrorism will stop because we stop the war in Iraq are also retards.

Maybe you're right that people believe this but I can't help them anymore than I can help the Bush administration.

I'm also not suggesting that I have a good solution to the problem. Hatred of the US is entrenched in many parts of the world and the solution to those problems are not clear.

But responding to devastation and violence with more devastation and violence DOES NOT HELP AT ALL.

The only way it would help is if we could kill all the terrorists and all the terrorists' families and anybody who ever felt anger about the kid of a terrorist or even for the kid of a next door neighbor of a terrorist who happened to get caught in the crossfire and people who happened to feel pity for people who felt pity for the kid of the next door neighbor who got killed in the crossfire ... and so on ad nauseum.

Your point about where they would be doing terrorism if they weren't doing it in Iraq is an interesting one. It would be more interesting if terrorism ceased to happen outside of the Iraq & Israel now that we've stirred up so much shit there. But clearly, as is in evidence in the UK, that's not happening.

I'm not sure what the comment about ya'll flying to England is about. I don't want anybody to get killed because of terrorists. Especially not you. I love you guys.

I also love to travel and I hate feeling terrified about getting on a plane. But what we're doing in the Middle East is NOT HELPING. It is actually making things worse.

I'm also not suggesting that ANYBODY, including the Bush administration, wants terrorism to get worse. I'm just pointing out that the current administration's policies and responses are misguided and bound to produce the wrong results.

More importantly, the rhetoric they use to try to get US citizens to support them is idiotic and embarrassing.

10:50 AM

Blogger zen imbecile said...

OK, I think I understand why you're talking about flying to London. You have multiple vested interests in keeping air travel safe.

See my comments from earlier.

Seriously rethink your support for the current US response to terrorism. We need a better solution. We can't destroy or beat down everyone who hates us. We just can't.

11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just commenting that as someone who's about to travel to where a threat just occurred, I would love it if there was a way to reduce the possibility of anything happening. I just don't have the solution either.

I wasn't insinuating that you were wishing anything bad to happen to us. That's something that only Ryan would do.

Anyway, thanks for the distraction from Excel spreadsheets.


11:06 AM

Anonymous Mark said...

As far as terrorism existing outside of Iraq & Israel, let's not forget what happened in/is happening in India, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Canada, France etc. All tied to Islamic Extremism.

I think most reasonable people would be willing to entertain other solutions - besides violence - at this point. But what are they? Sincerely. How many resolutions have been signed and then tossed in the trash can? Didn't the UN sign resolution 1559 a few yars back giving Lebanon 2 years to kick out Syria (er, I mean Hezbollah)? What happened to that?

I'm not against diplomacy, but if that diplomacy isn't working, then what else besides force, is there?
Containment? Possibly. I like that idea. It worked in Cold War times.

But as soon as a region is contained, you have Syria go along and assassinate Prime Minister Hariri. goes again.

12:32 PM

Blogger ryan said...

Hey! That's not nice! You're an asshole, Victor. I'm gonna call up my Arab friends and tell them what flight you're on, now.

9:52 PM

Blogger bryan h. said...

I don't think the Iraq problem needs to be approached as dichotomously as it's presented in this forum, as a choice between blunt force and toothless diplomacy, or between staying and fighting or leaving as a target. One can't really blame the UN for failed diplomatic resolutions, any more than you can blame Presidents Carter, Clinton, or Bush, or anyone else who has brokered a peace settlement. The problem lies wholly with the people doing the fighting, who subvert the peace accords, and the local populace that offers tacit or material support to the combatants.

I'm also not confident that the appropriate choice is between fighting in Iraq, or redeploying and fighting elsewhere. With all due respect to the National Security Advisor, my guess is that part of why we seem to be making no progress in Iraq is the same reason Israel and Russia have been mired in their own brutal counterinsurgencies for so long: conventioanl military tactics just aren't appropriate.

Insurgencies are, as I understand them, essentially battles for the hearts, minds and support of the locals. I'm sure Iraqis don't care for IEDs, car bombs, kidnappings and death squads. But the United States, not being able to provide basic utility services, or even assurances that our soldiers won't be their killers, isn't giving the Iraqi population any alternative. It might seem a safer bet for the Iraqis to support the insurgents than the occupiers.

I don't know that its plausible to assume we can kill or capture every Islamic radical. What we can do, though, is marginalize their ideology with unconventional tactics. For instance, there are two Muslim countries where the view of Americans (and the American military) has improved dramatically since the invasion of Iraq: Indonesia and Pakistan. The reasons? The American military's relief efforts following the tsunami and earthquake that destroyed large parts of both nations (respectively). A Marine officer is quoted in the latest (Sept. 2006) issue of The Atlantic as saying "the diplomatic component of the war on terror has been neglected so long, it's practically vestigial... It needs to be regrown."

At any rate, the sum total of my thoughts on fighting insurgencies through unconventional tactics can be found at the link below.


11:22 AM

Anonymous chadwick said...

Ummmm... Do you really think terrorism is a result of MTV and mini skirts Vicor? Come on, man. You are smarter than that. If it is freedom they hate, why aren't they all over the Netherlands?

The real questions we should all be asking ourselves is what has allowed Islamic Extremism take hold, and what can be done to reverse the process.

As for the first question, let's look at our history books shall we. Firstly, the Israelis were kicked out of Isreal almost 2000 years ago for being general assholes and causing unrest in the region. In my opinion, they have no more claim to that land than the Cheroke do to the land I am sitting on right now.

Though the uninformed will tell you there has always been unrest in the middle east, the fact of the matter is that there have been extraordinarily long stretches of peace in the Middle East when the "West" was not messing around with it. The TRUTH is there has always been unrest in Europe. Did you know that the borders of all the Middle Eastern countries were drawn up by England, France and the US? There have been several attempts by Middle Easterners to set up secular democracies all of which were squashed by England and the US in favor of "evil" dictators who would sign and uphold their ridiculous mineral rights treaties. Just read the history of Iran... Oh yeah, and remember when Osamma and Sadaam were Ronnie Reagan's very bestest of buddies? I do.

My point being is that because the problem of terrorism was created by "Western" political machinations in the Middle East (and in my opinion this is not debatable), it's quite absurd that anyone would propose that more of the same is going to fix it.

As for what to do to reslove the situation. Obviously, I don't have an answer, but I have a few ideas of how to get the ball rolling. The first is, of course, STOP SUPPORTING ISREAL. What are we gaining by supporting them? The politico's are gaining lots of unrest that makes it easier for them manipulate stupid people (and Victor). But really, what is the value to us or the rest of the world? If we pull out all our support for Isreal a) Isreal just might be more inclined to figure out how to get along with their neighbors and b) their neighbors will have one less US fueled injustice to complain about.

Victor, you are an extraordinarily intelligent individual... far more intelligent than I in my opinion. I find it extremely unsettling that you have allowed your political affiliations to so cloud your logic and reason. For God's sake, please, please, please study a little history before the next election!

9:21 AM

Anonymous Mark said...

Um, The Netherlands??
They ARE in the The Netherlands. And the Dutch government are becoming much more conservative because of it.

Don't you remember the brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh?

Have you been following the heroic life of former Somali/current Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and how she gets death threats all the times from her former Muslim friends? Check out her book "The Caged Virgin" for more insight into her life (if you're interested).

So yeah, they DO hate freedom in The Netherlands.

12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Middle East Expert! Mr. History Books!


5:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


No, I don't think it's totally just as simple as MTV and short skirts. But I do think it is partly about freedoms, especially the freedom to criticize and question certain aspects of Islam. Many European countries took the appeasement approach to their own Muslim population to the point of being afraid to even criticize radical elements within their own country. But as Mark points out, this eventually leads to the moment that where someone tries to criticize certain aspects of the religion, they end up getting murdered for it. An environment of "let's not say or do anything that could be construed as criticism so as not to rile them up" has been constructed in many parts of the Western world. This is starting to boil over in many parts of Europe. In fact, I think this is going to become a bigger issue in the time to come as the immigrant populations become larger in Europe.

Also, do you think that the current unrest in the Middle East is mostly Israel's problem? Middle Eastern governments have found that it's easier to use the Palestinians as pawns in order to distract their own people from problems in their own country. They have no interest in helping to solve the problem. What have those countries done to convince Israel that the moment that Israel lays down its arms and works for a peaceful solution that they won't turn on it right after? Much the same way that people argue that Al-Qaeda is Bush's bogeyman that he uses to keep people in check, you can argue that Israel is Iran's, Egypt's, Syria's, and many other countries' bogeyman that they use to rile up their citizens. Peace with Israel would be fatal for those governments, both literally and figuratively - just ask Anwar Sadat. Yes, it's true that Europe and the UN, much like they did in other parts of the world like Africa, started this problem and then left without offering any solution. But what does it say that from the moment of the partition of Palestine, Israel's neighboring countries have constantly invaded it in order to try to destroy it. They are as responsible for the refugee problem as Israel is. And those same governments encourage those refugees and have them believe that they can reclaim their land eventually. Is that's the case, when are my relatives getting Texas and California back? I think a lot of the problem is that Palestinians have to convince Israel that they are willing to hold up their end of any agreement and are also truly interested in peace. You can only ask Israel to give in so many times without getting anything in return. I think this will be the case with or without US support of Israel. And if that's not the right answer, then that's why I didn't go into diplomacy - finance is a whole lot easier and less messy.


10:30 PM

Anonymous chadwick said...

Very good points about Isreal and her neighbors, Victor. Still, I ask, what do we really get out of supporting Isreal? Why do we choose to support Isreal over Lebbanon? If we pull our support of Isreal (aside from humanitarian support of course) it will put us in a much better postition in the battle for the "Hearts and Minds" of the people of the Middle East. It will go a long way to take the wind out of the sails of the radical clerics and politico's who use us as a scape goat. Also, I think you make an interesting point about Texas and California. The reality of the situation is (for better or worse) he who holds the land owns it. But... it really looks bad when all the guns and money used to hold the land are coming from the USA. Fact: every bomb that killed a Lebanese woman or child had "Made in USA" stamped on the side. That don't look good, man.

As for your statements on freedom to criticize and appeasment. In our own "free" country, it has recently been proposed that it will be illegal to report on the illeagal activities of the excutive branch. It would seem that conservatives everywhere hate and fear freedom. People of Middle Eastern heritage get easily riled up when they hear their culture/religion criticized because they already feel (with good reason in my opinion) that the "West" is trying to erradicate their culture.

I assume that people in the Middle East have almost as short a memory as people in the US. If the radicals use "US Satan" and "Bomb-head Mohammad" rhetoric to rally the troops, I think its hardly different than our own radical assholes chanting "War on Terror, War on Terror, War on Terror" over and over again.

Bottom line, it's all BS used to control people. But... "War on Terror" would not work if people weren't already scared shitless because of 9-11. And "US Satan" rhetoric really packs a punch when your house has just been bull-dozed by a US made tractor because your nephew may or may not have been a terrorist.

Finally, it still boils down to a century of bad (debatably "evil") foreign policy. Until that truth is acknowledged and dealt with. It's going to be more of the same.

8:27 AM


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